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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
16/03/20 10:15

Austria ‘closed’ the Brenner pass, while Malta suspended ferry connections with Italy

Freight traffics continue, but health checks at the border increased, and the measures might become stricter

The Italian Government decreed the country’s lockdown to restrain the Coronavirus epidemic. This decision caused several Countries and airlines to suspend all connections with Italy, and this is having increasingly serious repercussions also on the shipping and logistics sectors.

In fact, Austria announced that it will close its borders (consequently the Brenner Pass), except for Austrian citizens who are in Italy and want to get back home, as suggested by Austrian Authorities. These people will be quarantined for 14 days, regardless of their health conditions, while Italian citizens who have to go to Austria “for urgent reasons” will have to produce a health certificate.

Freight traffics were not affected, though they are subject to the limitations imposed by the so called “sectoral bans” which were already in force before Italy was declared a “protected area”, and which did not please road hauliers at all. However, health checks for the latter are increasing: “Since the situation is changing rapidly, Austrian Authorities might take drastic decisions”, Trasportounito secretary Maurizio Longo explained to Ship2Shore.

“They are applying the anti-migrants measures implemented in 2016. According to the reciprocity principle, Italy should apply such measures also to those who are crossing the pass in the opposite direction”, Confcommercio-Conftrasporto Vice-President Paolo Uggè complained.

In the meantime, also Malta suspended all passengers connections, both maritime and ship ones, with Italy. The catamaran St. John Paul II, operated by Virtu Ferries, can sail on the Malta-Pozzallo route, but the service concerns exclusively commercial vehicles and their drivers.

Finally, following the suspension of ferry connections with Ancona and Trieste, Albania applied the prohibition to all Italy.